Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 21

On May 22, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov accused the United States of having “double standards” in the war on terrorism for allowing a Jamestown Foundation conference on the North Caucasus to take place, the Associated Press reported.

“The United States is conducting politics of double standards, giving a platform to terrorists to make open threats with the intention of committing terrorist acts in Russia,” Alkhanov said, according to his press service. “This is politics of ‘double standards,’ or of political shortsightedness. Clearly, America has forgotten the lessons of September 11.”

The April 14 conference, entitled “Sadullaev’s Caucasian Front: Prospects for the Next Nalchik,” infuriated Russian government officials and provoked a series of attacks on Jamestown in state-controlled Russian media. Earlier, Russia’s Foreign Ministry formally protested the forum, saying it went against commitments by the government in Washington to fight terrorism. The Jamestown Foundation vehemently denied it was advocating terror attacks in Russia, and said that a “distorted, manipulative and patently false” report by Russia’s state-controlled Channel One had figured strongly in the protest (Chechnya Weekly, April 20).

Alkhanov’s statements coincided with a May 22 article in the official Rossiiskaya gazeta newspaper severely criticizing the participation of Mayrbek Vachagaev, Aslan Maskhadov’s former press secretary, in the April 14 conference. Echoing earlier Russian Foreign Ministry accusations, the Kremlin-controlled Rossiiskaya gazeta asserted that “a conference in the capital of the United States was seriously discussing plans for future terrorist attacks in Russia” and that “guerrillas from Chechnya enjoy an inexplicable level of hospitality in the United States” and are “being given a platform to openly promote terrorism and discuss plans for undermining Russia.”